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Quantum Computing Method Improves Satellite Planning

Pasqal and Thales used neutral-atom technology to solve a complex optimization problem that could have other applications

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

May 21, 2024

1 Min Read

Researchers have demonstrated that using a neutral atom quantum computer can optimize the planning and scheduling of satellite deployment.

Quantum computing company Pasqal and aeronautics and defense organization Thales have been collaborating over three years to explore new ways to optimize the planning and scheduling of critical systems.

The AQUAPS project used Pasqal’s neutral atom quantum processor. According to the team, the technology is well-suited to the task since there is a natural correspondence between the satellite planning problem and the arrangement of atoms in the quantum processing unit (QPU).

Complex projects with critical applications require planning—considering policies and procedures—and scheduling—setting project actions into a workable timetable.

Examples of these types of projects that Thales undertakes include logistics, air traffic control, industrial automation, resource allocation and disaster recovery assistance.

These involved complex interconnected factors that push the limits of classical computers and require long processing time. 

Pasqal and Thales set out to identify whether quantum computing could improve performance enough to scale and solve even bigger problems beyond the reach of classical computers.

Related:French Government Gives Nation Quantum Strategy Update

The team successfully solved a satellite planning problem using Pasqal’s QPU, which could accelerate future satellite program planning and offer new perspectives in the field of advanced satellite planning.

“This partnership has demonstrated the power of quantum computing in solving real-world optimization problems, opening up new perspectives for the space industry and beyond,” said Pasqal CEO and co-founder Georges-Olivier Reymond.

Thales’ satellite use case formed part of the European Space Agency’s Quantum Computing for Earth Observation study.

Thales quantum algorithms and computing segment leader Frédéric Barbaresco said  it opens the prospect of other collaborations with Pasqal to study scaling for effective operational implementation.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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